How We Impact

Research and Student Highlights

HBL Graduates at CSU Statdium

HBL Students Off to Dietetic Internships - 2018

Three Health Behaviors Lab students successfully matched with their top Dietetic Internship sites. Heather Nereson, BS graduate in Food Science & Human Nutrition will be moving to Madison, Wisconsin to pursue her dietetic internship and master’s in clinical nutrition at the University of Wisconsin. Shannon Mallory, MS graduate in Community Nutrition, will be moving to Oregon to complete her dietetic internship at Oregon State University. Charlie Lakin, MS graduate in Community Nutrition will be starting rotations for CSU’s Coordinated Master’s Program in Dietetics in August. Congratulations to all three!

Heather Nereson

Outstanding undergrad presents HBL research at CURC, featured in SOURCE - 2018

In April 2018, outstanding undergraduate nutrition student, Heather Nereson, presented a poster at the 24th Annual Celebrate Undergraduate Research and Creativity (CURC) poster showcase. Her poster, “Capturing Parents Beliefs, Practices, Food Choices of Dining Out with Young Children in a Restaurant Setting,” highlighted findings from interviews with parents about dining out. She found that while many parents enjoy family time when dining out, they feel that the lack of healthy options on children’s menus is challenging. Heather was also recently featured in a SOURCE article for her remarkable involvement and achievements throughout her time at CSU, including serving as the current president of the Dean’s Leadership Council and maintaining at 3.955 GPA.

Child lunch photo

HBL Partners with CSU’s Early Childhood Center to Study Preschoolers’ Packed Lunches - 2018

In April 2018, the Health Behaviors Lab partnered with CSU’s Early Childhood Center (ECC) to study preschooler’s packed lunches as part of graduate student Shannon Mallory’s master’s project. Existing literature shows that parent packed lunches tend to be less healthy than lunches provided by preschool centers, but initial observations indicated this may not be the case at the ECC. For two weeks in April, the HBL team took photos of children’s lunches both before and after they ate, to understand what caregivers were packing and what children actually ate. As a follow-up component of her master’s project, Shannon will conduct interviews with ECC parents about their motivations and tips for packing healthy lunches and plans to create an educational toolkit to help other families pack healthy lunches for their preschooler. This research collaboration was featured in an article in CSU’s SOURCE newsletter.

Mackenzie at FNCE

PhD Student Wins Award at FNCE Conference - 2017

In October 2017, PhD student Mackenzie Ferrante traveled to the Food & Nutrition Conference & Expo in Chicago, where she was acknowledged as the Research Dietetics Practice Group’s 2017 Student Research Abstract Awardee. Her abstract was entitled “Paving the way for children’s vegetable acceptance: Analysis of dark green vegetable content of commercial infant and toddler foods.” Along with collaborators at CSU and University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, she analyzed the dark green vegetable (DGV) content of commercial foods and found that 24.1% of products contained DGV, but the DGV were often low on the ingredients list and no DGV were found as single vegetable products.

Aspen Grille Pilot Photo

Healthy Bites: Aspen Grille Pilot Study - 2017

In Spring 2017, the Health Behaviors Lab teamed up with Hospitality Management to conduct a pilot study at the Aspen Grille in the Lory Student Center. The pilot set out to understand if, in a restaurant setting, the order in which vegetables were served would increase children’s vegetable intake. Over the course of three weeks, 19 families with at least one child between 4-12 years ate dinner at the Aspen Grille one night a week. Preliminary results show that children may have increased consumption of carrots when carrots are offered as a vegetable appetizer as opposed to when carrots are offered as a side dish along with the main meal. Further analysis is ongoing to finalize these results.

Child Throwing Ball

HEROs: Physical Activity Interviews – 2017

Jimikaye Courtney, a PhD candidate in the Health Behaviors Lab, conducted interviews with 32 parents of Head Start preschoolers about physical activity and fundamental movement skills. The goals of the interviews was to understand parent values around preschooler movement skill competence and participation in physical activity as well as parent self-efficacy and enjoyment of practicing these skills with their child. Preliminary analyses suggest that parents value physical activity because it helps get their child’s energy out, keeps them happy and healthy and is a way to spend time together as a family. Parents want their children to learn movement skills because it helps build preschoolers’ confidence and self-esteem; allows them to try new skills; helps them socialize and promotes physical and cognitive development. In particular, parents value being active with their preschoolers as a way to interact and bond. Qualitative analyses are ongoing to confirm these preliminary results.

Faire Holliday at WHO photo

Graduate Student Spends Summer at WHO Internship in Geneva – 2017

During Faire’s time at the World Health Organization, she worked on two projects. The first was the Global Breastfeeding Scorecard 2017. This document, published by the Global Breastfeeding Collective, a partnership led by UNICEF and the WHO, rates countries on how well they are facilitating breastfeeding through funding and supportive policies. As her role in the project, she helped with analyzing the data and writing certain portions of the published documents. The second project involved investigating the financial connections between national and regional pediatric associations and the breast-milk substitute industry in order to determine potential conflicts of interest. She helped to research around 70 pediatric associations, create a survey and do preliminary analysis on the results, and write the first draft of a paper that will be published sometime in the next few months.

FSHN Departmental Celebration HBL Graduates

Graduates Off to Dietetic Internship - 2016

Three Health Behavior Lab graduates were successfully matched with their top Dietetic Internship sites due their hard work, research and lab experience, and passion for the field of dietetics. Daisuke Yoshida, MS graduate in Community Nutrition, was placed at UC Davis, in Sacramento, California. Katie Maloney, MS graduate in Community Nutrition, was placed in the distance program at Boston University. Emma Kett, BS graduate in Nutrition, was accepted into the coordinated Master’s program in dietetics at Bowling Green State University in Bowling Green, Ohio. Congratulations!

Graduate School Graduation

Outstanding Student Award - 2016

Two Health Behavior Lab students, Daisuke Yoshida and Katie Maloney, received the 2016 Food Science and Human Nutrition Graduate Student Award, which recognizes 2-3 outstanding graduate students each year who have excelled during their graduate training. This award is open to both Master’s and PhD students in the FSHN department and is based on outstanding performance in several or all of the following areas: academic achievement, research success, leadership positions, and contributions of service to the university and/or community. Daisuke was nominated for a variety of reasons, including his participation in several research projects in the department and volunteer/leadership opportunities in the community, his commitment to excellence and high academic achievement, his people skills, generosity and patience when collaborating with faculty and students, and innovative thinking particularly around the incorporation of technology. Katie was nominated due to her strong work ethic and participation in a variety of research initiatives that included analysis, data collection and dissemination, her strong leadership and people skills, high academic achievement and ongoing engagement in the community.

Daisuke and Sarah LFS 2016

2016 Lillian Fountain Smith Conference - 2016

Four Health Behavior Lab students presented research during a poster session at the 37th Annual Lillian Fountain Smith Nutrition Conference, hosted by Colorado State University.

  • Jimikaye Beck, doctoral student, presented her poster titled: Hop, Skip, Catch: Moto Skill Development in At-Risk Preschoolers.
  • Sara Hibbs-Shipp, PhD candidate, presented her poster titled: The Effects of the Food Friends Intervention at Improving Children’s Consumption of Novel Foods Over a 3-year Period.
  • Daisuke Yoshida, MS student, presented his poster titled: Development of an Electronic Survey to Capture the Home Food and Activity Environment.
  • Katie Maloney, MS student, presented her poster titled: The Trying New Foods Scale: A Preschooler Assessment of Self-Competence for Trying New Foods.


Student Update from Ethiopia - 2015

Recent MPH student Hannah Pensack-Rinehart has been working for 6 months as a Peace Corps Health Volunteer in Mezezo, Ethiopia. She collaborates with the Ethiopian Health Extension employees in addressing sanitation and hygiene issues as well as lack of health education due to the rural location. She has worked on a community needs assessment, led a biweekly Health & English summer club at the elementary schools, created and tended to a permagarden at the Health Center, and made health promotion and prevention posters for the health center.


DASHing Infographics - 2015

Kelly Niebaum, a current graduate student, examined the best practice guidelines for improved health communications in developing effective educational materials for her masters research project. She applied these guidelines in designing a captivating and visually stunning infographic on the DASH diet.

Read more about her research here
DASH Diet Infographic


LEAP Update - 2015

The LEAP Study is a 4 year longitudinal study to assess whether nutrition and physical activity behaviors adopted in preschool are maintained through early elementary school. One component of the study was to examine young children’s willingness to try new foods as a predictive behavior of dietary intake through The Food Friends Elementary School program titled Super Tasters & Mighty Movers. Find out more about the program and the results achieved summarized in an infographic.

LEAP Study Infographic

SNEB Impact Award

Nutrition Education Program Impact Award - 2015

Dr. Bellows and colleague/mentor Dr. Jennifer Anderson receive the Nutrition Education Program Impact Award from the Society for Nutrition Education and Behavior in 2015 for their work in developing and sustaining a nutrition education program in preschools that has been shown to produce positive behavior change in both children and families. To date, their Food Friends Program has reached an amazing 1036 preschool classrooms, 471 family childcare homes and over 66,000 children and families throughout Colorado.

Read more here

Emily & Laura Washington

A Visit to the Capitol - 2014

Recent undergraduate Emily Clyatt visited the Capitol with Dr. Laura Bellows who presented her research on childhood obesity in early childhood to congressional aides. During their time in our nation’s capital, Emily was able to participate in the congressional briefing hosted by the American Society of Nutrition and the National Coalition for Food and Agricultural Research, and do a little sightseeing as well.


Presidential Award - 2011

In 2011, Dr. Bellows received the Presidential Early Career Award for Science and Engineering. It is the highest honor bestowed by the United States government on science and engineering professionals in the early stages of their independent research careers. She was recognized “for outstanding work in understanding how healthy eating habits and physical activity patterns established in preschool are maintained over time to reduce childhood obesity,” according to White House officials.

Read more here